When it comes to trends, one shoe that’s been doing the rounds is the penny loafer. Originating in the 1930s, the shoe got its name from the band at the front that would people would often slot a penny into in case they need to make a call from a payphone (remember those?). Fast forward to 2022 and they’re everywhere.
This loafer style is a little chunkier than your standard loafer, so it’s a great way to ground an outfit. Wear it with more delicate pieces for a good amount of contrast, or pair it with a cropped pant to let the shoe do the talking, or work it back with a feminine look and use the shoe to give it some edge. Either way, they’re comfortable and practical but definitely tick the fashion box.
Designers have all been doing their take on it with everyone from Prada to Chanel doing their own iteration. While the band at the front that could fit a penny is no longer a prerequisite, the style remains the same. From chain store designs to more high end options, there are definitely plenty of options to choose from.
Polished perfection. This look featuring a cropped black trouser and patterned blazer show you can take pared back pieces and give it some oomph with the right choice in footwear. This is one outfit that certainly lets the penny loafer shine.
Influencer Chriselle Lim shoes you can take a feminine look such as a mini and cropped boucle jacket and give it some grit with a chunky loafer. It’s an unexpected pairing but I think it manages to achieve balance quite nicely.
Love this monochromatic ensemble. One way to add a trendy element to the penny loafer is by pairing it with an ankle sock. The different silhouettes incorporated into this look worked back with the sock and loafer combination achieve a look that has elements of interest but total cohesion.
Like most women, I tend to go through periods where I’ll be all about certain shoes and I’ll gravitate towards a handful of different pairs and wear them non-stop. At the moment, there are a few in that category, a combination of heels and flats that have taken me through the last few months and have been worked back with more outfits than I can remember. They have definitely earned their MVP status, and here they are…
These shoes are a comfy pump that really can go from day to night with ease. I’ve worn these with a suit, to a dress and a skirt and jeans and it worked seamlessly with all of them. I am also really beginning to appreciate how versatile a white shoe can be because it’s the kind of hue that goes with just about anything.
These sandals are a new addition to my wardrobe and I’m so glad I took the plunge and bought them as I am wearing them from one event to another and they’re really proving themselves when it comes to cost per wear. I also like the fact that they have an interesting silhouette from your average stiletto so they can really enhance an outfit.
Eternally classic, a pair of Chanel two-tone flats is a forever kind of purchase because you’ll wear them again and again. I think the great thing about these shoes is that they’re comfortable, but also their simplicity means they can be worn in so many different ways. Plus the Chanel colour combinations are always really chic, and I think you can’t go wrong with black and white.
I think people have a love/hate relationship with this shoe style but I fall into the former camp. I just can’t get enough of them and have been wearing them non-stop. They’re really comfortable which makes them perfect for running around in, and I’ve found that they work with so many different looks in my closet. I wear them multiple times a week so it just goes to show how versatile they are, and also how much I enjoy them.
These have been such a great summer shoe buy. I think what attracted me to them was the simplicity of the style so it meant I could work them with a dress to linen pants, to shorts and a skirt. While these shoes come in other colours, I’m glad I went with the white as it has enabled me to wear them with so many other clothing options as they’re chameleonic in how easily the can play with everything in my closet.
I pretty. much live in slides throughout summer as I find them to be really versatile and such a wearable option for any occasion. I tend to go for slides that have a more polished vibe making them easier to wear with multiple looks, dressed up or down. I usually invest in a new pair each season, and this summer, I went for the above white Bottega Veneta slides. White is so easy to pair with pretty much everything in my closet making it my number one pick.
These sandals can be quite divisive—you either love ’em or you hate ’em. I fall into the former category. I’ve found them to be so comfortable so I’ve found myself wearing them most days of the week and they’ve been really easy to pair with everything from dresses to jeans. If you don’t like this particular silhouette, definitely find yourself a comfy shoe this summer, whether it’s a Teva backpacker-style sandal or good ol’ fashion Birkenstocks. Take advantage of the fact comfort is most definitely in!
Dark pumps can feel quite heavy at this time of year but you may still want a pair of shoes that you can wear for dressy occasions. Enter a great white heel. Anything in a crisp white is perfect for summer wear and this style is still formal enough to wear as occasion wear, or when you just feel like dressing up a casual look.
I’m of the frame of mind that a statement shoe is a necessity all year round. Often a simple look can be elevated by the right kind of shoe. These Bottega Veneta mesh pumps are my go-to statement heel right now, as the colour is easily worked back with myriad looks while the style quirky enough to add an element of interest to an outfit. Also mesh is all kinds of perfect for summer weather—great ventilation!
I love the start of each season as it means I can go shopping and make some key additions to my wardrobe. I often try and pinpoint a few key pieces that I’ll need as opposed to going crazy and buying up every trend in sight. However if there’s one thing I do each season without fail it’s this: I buy shoes in black and neutral. Yep, every season. I’ve done it for years and I’ve found making those strategic shoe purchases will get me through autumn, winter, summer and spring.
Whilst I’ll stick to the same colours I’ll obviously alter the style of shoe according to the weather so in winter I’ll buy a boot and a closed toe shoe such as a pump and if it’s summer I’ll buy both open toed shoes whether it be a sandal or stiletto. A black and a neutral shoe will go with virtually everything in my wardrobe so I know I’m guaranteed to get a lot of use out of it plus buying a season’s key style will update my look accordingly. It’s an easy way to look on trend without having to change your entire wardrobe.
Stylist Lana Wilkinson has styled the likes of Megan Gale, Rebecca Judd, Anna Heinrich and Zoe Foster Blake, and in 2019 she launched her eponymous shoe brand—so, if anyone knows the key to great style it’s Lana. With the launch of her second shoe range this month focusing on versatility and multipurpose styles, I thought it was a great time to catch up with Lana herself to share her tips on how to achieve the one thing most women want: a truly versatile and functional wardrobe.
What’s the key to ensuring versatility with one’s wardrobe?
“My number one tip for ensuring your wardrobe has versatility, is to buy pieces that you can integrate and pair with three items already in your wardrobe. It makes the styling process far less overwhelming.”
What should women keep in mind when shopping if they do want a wardrobe that has longevity and versatility?
“If you want your wardrobe to stand the test of time, I recommend buying classic investment pieces that don’t go out of style. Staple items like a blazer, classic black pant or LBD and denim are always great go-to pieces, no matter what the trends are for the season. My wardrobe formula is quality over quantity, 80% classic / 20% trend-based.“
What are the most versatile style staples every woman should have in her wardrobe and why?
A Pump Heel. They create the ultimate leg-lengthening effect, making you look feminine and elongated all at the same time. Total boss vibe too!
Blazer. A Blazer is the ultimate wardrobe staple and has the power to make any outfit look more styled and put together. Blazers designed in a classic colour way (black, grey, camel or white) will always be a great investment that you will wear time and time again.
Denim. Jeans that make you look and feel amazing will be one of the most essential pieces in your wardrobe. They can be worn casually with trainers or styled up with a signature pair of heels.
Basic T-shirt. A good T-shirt is often overlooked as a key wardrobe staple. They can be worn in so many different ways and can be dialed up for day or evening. Again, in signature colour ways like black, white and grey – you can’t go wrong.
What are the 3 most versatile pieces in your wardrobe and why?
“I’m a sucker for a cool midi-dress. Pair it back in winter with a chunky knit, trainers, pump or boots or in summer with a pair of sandals or flats.
A must-have for me is a black blazer. It sure gets a big workout in my wardrobe! It is so versatile and perfect for layering, I can wear it with jeans and a t-shirt, or pair it with black trousers for a power suit look at work.
A good fitting pair of jeans are another versatile piece that serve me through the week and also on weekends. You can pair them with a knit for an off duty look or with heels and a structured top to go out at night.”
When it comes to shoes, it seems there is always an endless array of designs to choose from. What should women look for when it comes to picking shoes that will go the distance?
“I’ve found that shoes are such a personal fashion item, so I have a hard time advising women on what they should and shouldn’t wear. My main advice is usually to have fun with them and make sure you are comfortable. The aim of my shoe collection is to give women multiple options and fashion forward staples that they can wear again and again.”
What was the inspiration behind your new range? Why are they the kind of shoes that can be worn time and time again?
“My aim in designing my footwear line is to create versatile, fun pieces that you will feel great wearing. I have been inspired by utility and want to make sure that my customer can wear the pieces time and time again, not just for one season. The new collection features classic styles in versatile colours to make sure that my customer can get the most out of each piece.”
If you had to pick, which style in your new collection would be your go-to shoe?
“It’s always so hard to choose! At the moment I’ve been wearing the “Megan” (pictured above) to death as they go with everything and the heel height allows me to wear them all day.”
What should people scrimp on if they do want to ensure that their wardrobe is functional and wearable season after season?
“I always advise people to scrimp on basics like t-shirts and shirts, as these are the building blocks of an outfit but won’t add any wow factor to them. Uniqlo and Zara always have excellent layering pieces at an affordable price.”
Where do you think women tend to go wrong if when they look at their wardrobe they constantly think “I have nothing to wear”?
“I think we need to aim to reinvent our wardrobes more than we currently do. Instead of thinking that you need a completely new collection of clothes, try taking out your essential pieces and play around with them to find new and interesting ways to build an outfit. Styling my garments and accessories in different ways gives me extra wear out of pieces. I try to make my wardrobe habits more sustainable which results in less stress when I get dressed in the morning!”
What’s the key to classic, timeless style?
“Everyone has their own version of classic style as fashion is so subjective, however wearing tailored silhouettes and timeless pieces will ensure that your look has longevity. Try not to follow trends too closely as these tend to go out of style more quickly.”
What’s one thing you wish more women would do when it comes to their wardrobe?
“I wish that women would feel more confident wearing pieces more than once. This is something that we were told was a big ‘no-no’, however why shouldn’t we wear items that we feel great in all the time? If you invest in a piece that you absolutely love and look after it, it can last for decades, instead of just one season.”
The one thing about attending the races is that you will inevitably be on your feet a lot. So it’s important to think smart when it comes to your footwear. The great thing about the range of dressy shoes out there at the moment is that you’ll be able to find some beautiful pieces that are appropriate for the occasion whilst not leaving you hobbling in pain for the rest of the day. The non-negotiable rule is that you have to keep your shoes on the entire time so at all times think of comfort before anything else.
In order to last an entire day opt for a midi heel which still gives you height but is a little kinder to the feet. You could also go one step further and go for a flat instead. Flats have definitely become a statement piece of their own so you’ll no doubt find something that will suit a day at the races. What you sacrifice in heel height you can easily offset with everything from embellishments to vibrant colours and interesting shapes and designs.
So if you’ve got your outfit sorted, here are some comfy shoe options to match…
I’m the first to admit I often play favourites when it comes to my wardrobe. There are just some pieces that are constantly on rotation for me at the moment because they just work with everything I own and are great for instantly dressing up a look. And sometimes I just get into a certain vibe when it comes to my outfits and the following pieces work beautifully with the aesthetic I’m going for. Here are the few that are currently at the top of my list…
501 Levis Skinny Jeans
I like the fact that these jeans are a little tapered but still tap into the trend for a more relaxed fit. They’re also a great wash and are able to be dressed up or down whether I’m in the mood to wear a white t-shirt or a beautiful blazer.
Chanel Gabrielle Backpack
I can’t really go past a beautiful Chanel bag and whilst I’m a big fan of their classic 2.55 style, this backpack is also right up there for me. Not only does it look elegant but it’s also utilitarian and can hold all my essentials and still leave me hands free — perfect for travelling or when I’ve got a busy day of running errands.
CC Logo Pink Suede Sneaker
I pretty much live in sneakers so I’m so in love with this pair for the fun pink shade and the on trend shape. Plus who can resist a comfy shoe that also ticks all the style boxes! This is one investment piece that I’m definitely maximising the cost per wear on.
Sparrows Weave The Round Wicker and Leather Top Handle Bag
Beautiful wicker bags are a go-to accessory this season and I do love the shape of this bag for its simplicity and relaxed elegance. I’ve loved being able to wear it on holiday with casual summer dresses and with more dressy ensembles. A versatile piece that I know I’ll be using non-stop this summer.
Giuseppe Zanotti Farrah Heels
I’ve been wearing these shoes to events and with work ensembles of late because it’s such an easy, wearable style that goes with virtually everything. Whilst it’s a great black heel, I love the crystal detail which elevates it and gives it a striking detail that sets it apart.
Aquazzura Deneuve 105 Bow-Embellished Suede Pumps
I often refresh my shoe wardrobe with a new black pump every season and this pair by Aquazzura has been such a great buy. I’ve worn it with jeans to dresses and suits so it’s a definite style chameleon. A heel that definitely ticks all the boxes.
You’ll often be able to quickly pinpoint an ‘it’ shoe when you start seeing it appear on Instagram. Everywhere. And this season it’s the Bottega Veneta shoe that I’ve been seeing through many a scrolling session — specifically the Stretch sandal.
The strappy square toe heel is such an arresting style because it’s shape is so different to anything we’ve seen of late. It also borrows the V shaped strap from the 90s heeled thong (which is most definitely making a comeback) and echoes the resurgence of that particular decade.
The great thing about this shoe is that it works across various looks, all very different in aesthetic as you can see below. Wear it casually, formally or a little of both and it plays beautifully in all three dress codes.
You’ll have to be ultra resourceful to find a pair due to their popularity and the fact they’ve sold out almost everywhere but never fear, you can bet there are going to be some iterations heading our way, some with a slightly friendlier price tag too!
If there’s one sandal style that you’ve no doubt seen everywhere it’s got to be The Row’s Bare sandal. The on trend heel is minimalist perfection. With it’s delicate straps and slight heel it’s the versatile shoe that will take you through spring/summer.
You can easily wear this style with everything from a dress to a skirt and shorts so you can poise yourself to live in them all summer. Plus it’s the perfect mixture of a dressy and casual heel so you can easily rock it for myriad occasions.
If you’re after a budget-friendly version then never fear, because I’ve rounded up a few options that will be friendly to your wallet.
With glimpses of the warm weather that’s just around the corner, gorgeous summery sandals have been on my mind. And whilst there are definitely more styles available than days to wear them, if you’re in the market for a pair of summer slides that will be in vogue season after season then look no further than the classic Hermès Oran sandal.
Seen on many a fashion blogger, editor and celeb, the Oran’s beauty is in its simplicity. An unfussy design with sleek lines and an impressive versatility that will ensure that it will work back with numerous outfits. No doubt the durability factor is high when it comes to an Hermès piece, but it also comes with the price tag to match. If you’ve had your heart set on this style but your shopping budget isn’t quite ready for it, then you’re in luck because there are some great alternatives that are affordable, but have a similar sensibility. And to make it even easier, I’ve rounded up some shoppable options for you below.